Another common thing I see in people who have lost weight but are at this 6-12 month period where they start to slip into old habits is that they have not actually appreciated the new positives in their life.
What do I mean by this?
There may be reasons you had the old habits, or thoughts, or whatever you had going on in your life in the past that may have led you to be overweight. And often these reasons are really simple, at some level, those things were satisfying your deeper needs. For example, eating ice cream every night may be one of the few pleasurable things in your life you had, it made you feel comfortable, and it was something you were in control of to a degree. It satisfied a deeper need in you for these things. So to you, at that time, it was a good thing in the short term, even if you did put on weight.
So when you lose weight, maybe 6 months later, the willpower and initial excitement wear off of being on this journey and your brain starts looking again – where are my positives, my pleasures and my comforts? Now, we have two paths from here.
Path 1 – the brain will look for the way it used to do this and it will find past things like ice cream. And it will signal to you “eat ice cream” and eventually you will. And then you will go back to old habits and put weight back on.
Path 2 – You realise there is a much truer positive that has come into your life that makes path 1 look tiny and pointless in comparison. You appreciate that you feel so much better now, we have more energy, lost weight, sleeping better, our breathing is better, we are more fit, we are less achy, sex may be better, we are more clear-headed and overall we are much happier. You appreciate that you actually enjoy some of the new and healthy foods you are eating, you love moving the body more, and you are less burdened by your self-criticising thoughts. And that this new positive vastly outweighs the old fake positive like ice cream. You realise this old way of short-term pleasure was just an illusion, it never really made you happy. So with this path we accept that yes ice cream may still be appealing and may always be, but our desire for it now is only a fraction of what it was before because we have a new benchmark that is so much higher and more desirable – we have a new positive in our life to live for.
So if you are at this point – thank yourself, deeply and sincerely. Well done, seriously well done for getting this far. And look at all the new experiences and positives you have brought into your life. These are worth keeping and having more of right? If you don’t value what you have done, if you don’t see the worth, then, of course, your brain is going to take you back to old habits. But if you see the value and pleasure in what you are doing, then you will just want more. You have only just started, imagine having more of these truly good things?